‘Match Poker’ Given Observer Status By GAISF And Could Soon B

Posted by Carolyn on Oct 20, 2017 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

Professional poker players and poker lobbyists have fought for years to prove that the game of poker is different from other forms of gambling which are based solely on the element of luck. Poker players have pointed out that to be consistently successful at poker; one needs a high level of skill which took years to develop. Their arguments have generally fallen on deaf years and gaming commissions and lawmakers across the world label poker as just another casino game.

Observer List Status

However that could all change very quickly as Global Association of International Sports Federations’ (GAISF) announced in October that ‘Match Poker’ had been placed on the ‘Observer’ status list and will be reviewed shortly to see if it could be added to the list of Olympic sports. GAISF has placed Match Poker along with foosball, dodgeball, arm wrestling, pole-dancing, kettlebell lifting and foot golf on the Observer list for special review.

The Olympic committee looks at new games on an on-going basis to keep up with current times and after conducting a detailed review decided if that game can be categorized as an official Olympic sport. The committee in recent times has introduced as well as removed quite a few games. The Olympic Committee added golf to the 2016 Olympics and confirmed that rugby would be an official Olympic sport in 2020. Some of the other sports that the committee has approved for the 2020 Tokyo Games include surfing, rock climbing, baseball, skateboarding and karate.

The fact that ‘Match Poker’ has been featured on the Observer list is big step for the game of poker. Imagine if it turned into a reality and ‘Match Poker’ became an official Olympic sport. It would provide poker lobbyists throughout the world with much needed backing for them to convince gaming regulators and legislators to rethink their stance on poker and amend gaming laws to recognize poker as a sport and not as gambling. It would also help young poker players convince their parents that they were pursuing a legit professional career as a sportsman or sportswoman.

Review Criteria

Well there is still a long way to go before ‘Match Poker’ is approved as an official Olympic game. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Programme Commission (OPC) will have to review all the sports on the program and the non- Olympic recognized sports and then make a final decision as to which of the seven sports on the ‘Observer’ status list can be approved and be termed as an official Olympic sport going forward.

The IOC and OPC will use a number of criteria to measure these ‘Observer’ sports which will help them make their decision. The key criteria will be the tradition and history of the sport, is popularity across the world, universal acceptance, reputation of the sport, health of athletes who compete in the sport, financial cost of hosting the sport and the impact it will have on the International Federation which is the governing body.


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